Wednesday Update – Great to see such keen interest in this subject which I first blogged on Sunday (see below). The comments and likes were made here on the blog and on the FB post. Thanks for your well- informed and strong feedback, support. I’ve been out on my bike again – and have this to report –
I had to donate blood in Takapuna yesterday, so set off on my bike from Devonport . En route I met more cars parked in the cycle lane while the drivers wrote texts and took phone calls. I tapped on the window and received an apologetic response from drivers. They said they weren’t aware it was a cycle lane, and moved on immediately. I was prepared to forgive them, as the cycle symbols on the cyclelane are sparce and faded.
I was less tolerant on my return, (maybe because I was now short of blood), and was compelled to take photos when I found the cycle lane blocked by an empty car parked with the tyre protruding slightly over the lane. With the speed and dense traffic in the vehicle lane I felt the car was quite an obstacle to pass safely. Admittedly it was parked in the stretch between Winscombe St and Williamson Ave which was resealed some months ago, and where there are still no cycle symbols. Interesting to note that the vehicle lane markings were reinstated immediately after the resealing, but the cycle symbols don’t have the same priority.
I then came across a big SUV queued in the cycle lane at the Belmont lights- just before the cycle lane ended. Again, no cycle symbols, just a sign by the side of the road.
A CAA member emailed me yesterday to report the closest shave of his life recently while using the Devo- Taka cyclelane. A car turned across him as he rode downhill just after Belmont on his way to Devonport, by the Montgomery Ave corner. He had to brake on the hill to avoid a crash with the car turning across his bow into Montgomery Ave. His bike was damaged – he wasn’t – but is this acceptable for a cyclist to fear for their life when using the road in a law abiding manner on the North Shore’s busiest cycle route?
We’re preparing a Monkey Survey to learn more about the hazards of the Lake Rd cycle lane in its present condition to provide to AT to support my idea for lane protection. Watch out for it, and please help by sending it far and wide!
Sunday’s Blog item
This is a cheeky blog from me, as I am down the pecking order in Cycle Action’s infrastructure team. Our infrastructure leader, Max, and others like Steve on the North Shore are far better qualified than I am, (a mere planner) to comment on quick fixes to raise the profile and speed of delivery of cycling safety works.
Despite this, I am compelled to share my thoughts from last Wednesday when I rode on the cyclelane from Devonport to do a few jobs in Takapuna.
I was frustrated to meet cars parked in the cyclelane, while their drivers were talking on their phones , (admirable on one count, but why penalise cyclists?) If I hadn’t been having such fun cycling, I would also have got wound up by the sad faded cycle symbols on the road. (The greening at intersections have recently been improved massively, but the cycle symbols are tired and far apart. )
I had rung Fulton’s project manager that morning to remind him to install the lane dividers he’d offered to prevent motorists from invading the cycle lane.
As I rode it occurred to me I’d like to put some of those lane protectors on the Lake Rd cyclelane. Fulton Hogan have taught me they are easy and quick to install. So why don’t we ask AT to do a quick fix pilot to put some along the length of the Lake Rd cyclelane?
After all, it’s the busiest cycle lane on the North Shore, used by the students from Takapuna Grammar and Belmont Intermediate, as well as people like me, riding to Takapuna. It’s also well used by cyclists commuting to the Devonport ferry and to a lesser extent, the Bayswater ferry.
Think about how handy it would be to upgrade the cycle lane with protectors as a pilot now, while the Devonport Ferry Terminal building and surrounding area are undergoing a major make-over which has closed a section of the park and ride. The perfect opportunity to encourage more people to try cycling!
I love the Devonport – Takapuna cyclelane, even though it is incomplete. But I know many people feel it is just a painted line on the road that leaves them vulnerable to being hit by passing fast vehicles or trucks, or means they can be blocked by car drivers who pull over to take phone calls. These cautious cyclists would have more confidence to use it if they were protected by dividers like those shown in the photos, installed this week on Royal View Rd.
This little pilot could be done cheaply and quickly, delivering more cycling safety and transport choice, and help address the disruption while the ferry terminal is upgraded.
What about it – let’s do it!